groundWork and the international Global Community Monitor to work with Southern African communities to develop community based air pollution monitoring systems

10 January 2002 - Local NGO groundWork and two US-based NGOs - the Global Community Monitor and the South African Exchange programme on Environmental Justice - are joining forces to work with community based organisations in Southern Africa to develop community based air monitoring systems. This is in order that communities throughout Southern Africa can challenge and work with government and industry to improve air quality in their neighbourhoods.

From January 19th to February 15th groundWork and GCM will host a series of community workshops in Durban, Sasolburg, Secunda and Cape Town in South Africa, and Swaziland and Mozambique to develop community based monitoring systems. These monitoring systems will use the simple, community-based “bucket brigade” method of taking air samples. The “bucket brigade” method of air sampling was first introduced into South Africa by groundWork in May 2000.

"“This new expansion of community right to know throughout Southern Africa is in direct response to the failure of industry and governments to monitor and clean up toxic pollution that trespasses into fence-line communities",” said Ardiel Soeker, groundWork’s Air Quality Coordinator, "“The new Bucket Brigade effort will be reaching thousands of families for the first time so that they can demand clean air".”

“"The success of the South Africa Bucket Brigade has increased the demand for community air monitoring around the globe",” said Denny Larson of GCM, "“Now communities in the developing world want to know what they are breathing and how to get corporations to clean up their act".”

This is part of the three-year groundWork programme that seeks to assist community organisations in Southern Africa who are fighting industrial pollution in their neighbourhoods. Outside of SA, groundWork will be working with Yonge Nawe in Swaziland and Livaningo in Mozambique. Locally, groundWork will be working with SDCEA (South Durban), the Tableview Residents’ Association (Cape Town) and the Sasolburg Environmental Committee.

"“This partnership between community based, national and international based organisations provides a modus operandi for assisting community based organisations to hold big multi-national industry accountable for their actions in Southern Africa",” says Ardiel Soeker.

For more information contact:
Ardiel Soeker (groundWork): 021-761 8669
Bobby Peek (groundWork) 082 464 1383
Denny Larson (GCM): 091 - 415 - 845 4705 or dennylarson@earthlink.net
Anabela Lemos (Livaningo, Mozambique): 09258 – 491994 or livaningo@fmp.org.mz
Thuli Makama (Yonge Nawe, Swaziland): 09268- 404 1394 or yonawe@realnet.co.sz